Myths About Saving on Fuel Costs

With fuel prices escalating all across the world, car owners are desperately looking for effective ways of saving money on their gas bills. Over the years, mechanics, motorists and auto car enthusiasts have come up with quite a few popular ideas that promise to bring about improvements in a car's fuel efficiency. However, most of these ‘gas-saving’ tips tend to leave users disappointed and asking for more. Here are the facts behind some of the oft-quoted myths in this regard.

Over-inflation of Tires

Myth: Keeping your tires fully inflated and above their recommended pressure levels will help in optimum fuel consumption. Fact: A loss of five pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure in the tires generally translates into a two per cent decrease of gas mileage. The recommended pressure is usually found on the inside of the door that’s on the driver’s side. While you may believe that over-inflating your tires will help you save on fuel, driving with such tires reduces your car's handling and creates the ground for a bumpier ride. In addition, there is an increased risk of your tires bursting.

Filling Tires with Nitrogen

Myth: Some garages and car dealerships have introduced offers to fill up tires with nitrogen gas, instead of compressed air. The act promises increased performance as well as better fuel consumption.

Fact: The above mentioned practice amounts to nothing more than an easy means for garages to make a fast buck at the expense of lesser aware clients— the difference is practically negligible. In general, Nitrogen gas is useful for high-performance race cars, commercial aircrafts and some long-haul containers/ trucks. Unlike air (which is a combination of several gases), it is pure in nature and therefore enables engineers to predict the reaction of this gas at high temperatures; and in a more precise manner. This makes it an ideal choice for airplanes, as their tires tend to undergo a lot of temperature changes and stress. However, it has no visible effect on the fuel efficiency of your car.

Filling up Fuel in the Morning

Myth: Most fluids, including gasoline, are likely to be denser at cooler temperatures. So, it may lead one to believe that filling up gas in the early hours of the morning gives better returns on fuel investments.

Fact: Service stations store large quantities of gasoline in underground tanks, where the temperature remains at nearly constant levels, at all times. It is possible to save a few pennies or a fraction thereof by tanking up in the morning, but then, the resultant savings would hardly make a difference.

Closed Windows Reduce Drag

Myth: Here, the argument is that even though the use of car air conditioning reduces gas mileage, it is sensible to keep the windows closed on the highway, as it decreases the drag.

Fact: In the year 2011, Consumer Reports had checked this theory by driving a Honda Accord at a speed of 105 km/h on the highway, with its air conditioning on. It was reported that the car’s gas mileage was reduced. The same car was driven at the same speed without air conditioning and with its windows down; there were no noticeable changes in gas mileage.

Drive Downhill in Neutral

Myth: The (misguided) idea that rests behind this much quoted myth is that moving to neutral while driving downhill stops the burning of gas and cuts off the supply of fuel to the engine.

Fact: Modern day fuel-injected vehicles continue burning fuel even when your foot is off the gas pedal. This is because the act only makes the fuel-delivery system shut down. Coasting down a hill in neutral does not make a difference to fuel economy in any manner as the car continues using gas. It is better to go downhill with constant shifting between gears; else the car’s automatic transmission may cause transmission shock.

Changing of Filters Regularly

Myth: The car’s air filter is designed to keep off dust, grime and dirt from the motor and maintains high performance. It is therefore important to keep the filter clean and keep changing it regularly. Fact: It is common to find car owners changing their car’s air filters when they get an oil change or when the act is recommended by a mechanic. Modern air filters are specifically designed to work efficiently when dirty, as they use these layers of dust and dirt as added filters. Studies have proved that dirty air filters had no negative effects on gas mileage in contemporary cars that use fuel-injection technology. An air filter is best changed after your car has run about 48,000 km.

These facts prove that commonly used tips in regards to savings on gas bills may not be as lucrative as you believe and that you need to be more aware.

Happy savings!

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